#TipTuesday: Encourage your users to protect their privacy! 🔐

Kirstie Macfarlane
Kirstie Macfarlane HLV Staff
edited April 30 in Talk Community #1

Hey there Vanilla friends!

I had a customer question come up recently that I thought would make for a great conversation topic on our community.

This particular customer was concerned about being responsible for any private information their members may post on their community (which was a health support forum).

Health centered communities actually have two types of information to be concerned about: Personal information (PI) includes name, photo etc, and Protected Health Information (PHI) includes information about symptoms, a diagnosis and information about a disability.

So how do we prevent members from posting any PI or PII?

The short answer is, we can't. People will still post content that we wouldn't advise.

So what can we do?

Keep them informed! More information is always better.

Some ways you can do this:

  • Use a CTA widget to add a disclaimer on your homepage
  • Use a moderation message to add another disclaimer at the top of every new post page
  • Add an announcement to your community to explain what they should be keeping private and what is safe to share.

The key differentiator is that when it’s voluntarily provided, we can't control it, but only advise against it. For example for a medical community, if the information is voluntarily provided by the patient / family it’s no longer HIPAA protected.

No matter what type of community you host, we would recommend that you add additional disclaimers on your site to explain this to your users. It’s not always obvious to people that putting this kind of information on a public forum removes any legal protection.

How do you address this issue on your community?